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Sometimes it may seem your home is a living, breathing being whose sole purpose is to make a mess everytime you turn around. Or so you would think. It’s amazing, really, that we are capable of making such a mess all on our own; or with the help of our kids, pets, and significant others. Even if it’s just ourselves in our homes, most of us are pros at creating clutter.

So what can you do to stay ahead of the mess? Whether you’re home all day working and living in the chaos, or work outside of the home only to come home to a potential dinner, laundry, pet explosion, here are some tips you can practice daily to keep ahead of the mess.

Keeping the Laundry Merry-Go-Round Revolving

No matter if it’s just you in the house or you and four other people, big and small, laundry builds up quickly. This is especially true for those one bath towel per day type of households. You can avoid a Mt. Laundry forming in your bedroom by either washing or folding at least one load of laundry everyday. Try timing it for the part of the day you have the most energy, whether it be mid-morning or right after work.

On that note, when you’re done with your work day, whether its from home or at an office, resist the temptation to throw your clothes on the exercise bike or the chair in your bedroom. Take the extra minute required to hang your lightly used clothes back up on the hanger, or throw them in the laundry bin each day. That will save you a massive pile to sort through at the end of the week, or after many weeks when you’ve discovered you have absolutely nothing left to wear.

Give the Bathroom A Wipedown

Just like you give the kitchen a good wiping after the evening meal, so should give the same attention to your bathroom. Bathrooms are easily neglected, since most of us spend only minutes in it a day. The condition of the bathroom may go unnoticed all week, maybe even weeks, until all of the sudden the grime-covered sink and toilet cannot be ignored any longer. At that point, you’ll spend an hour just getting it back to a respectable state.

Instead, alternate days during the week to quickly wipe down counters and toilets depending on the number of bathrooms you have. If you have two bathrooms, wipe down each bathroom every other day. You can do it during one of your bathroom visits, so it’s easy to remember.

Pick-Up Bins

This is a great trick that works for all members of the household. Get a bin, basket, bag… whatever works, and place it in the hall or on the stairs – any place where it will get noticed before bed. As you walk through the house, pick up clutter as you go and place it in the bin corresponding to the clutter’s owner. Have other members of the house join in on the chore so you’re not the only one bearing the burden. At the end of the day take your bin with you to bed and put things away, so that you can bring your empty bin down the next morning.

Vacuuming

Investing in a decent vacuum that works well on any surface including wood, tile, and carpet will go a long way in helping you keep your home clean on a daily basis. Keep your vacuum out during the week in a convenient place so that you can just flip the switch and do a quick pass on the highest traffic rooms. Pay extra attention to the kitchen, front hall (or most used entry point to the house), and family room.

The Kitchen Hustle

One of the messiest parts of the day is dinnertime. It may feel you’re emptying half your kitchen onto the counter just to get dinner cooked and on the table. Even if you’re going easy that evening, the plates and cups seem to reproduce while you aren’t looking.

Combat this by cleaning as you go. Rinsing and reusing bowls, mixing spoons, knives, etc. while you’re preparing food, cuts down on the amount of dishes you’ll be doing after dinner. Unload the dishwasher before you start preparing, so that you can load the dishwasher as you go. Try giving each person a unique cup to use throughout the day, so that new cups aren’t chosen because someone misplaced a cup that’s identical to someone else’s.

Make Your Bed Daily

This tip is more motivational than organizational. The act of making your bed every morning serves as a reminder to keep the positive, neat and tidy trend going all day. Seeing a made bed makes most of feel good, and may serve as motivation to keep the rest of the house as made up as possible.

Remove Unnecessary Clutter

Take a good look at your surroundings and get rid of those things that just don’t matter. Ask yourself if you really need four throw pillows on your sofa, or a decorative soap basket in your bathroom. Do you really need that stack of magazines on the coffee table that seem to end up on the floor by the end of the day, everyday? Do your children really need all of those toys? Simplifying the amount of small things you need to clean or pick up every day will make a big difference you’ll notice almost immediately.

Empty Trash As You Go

If you’re sick and tired of seeing a small hill start to creep up over the small trash bins, consider giving them a quick check every time you enter a room. Line the bathroom trash cans with a bag (even a grocery bag will do), so that you can easily pull it out and throw it in the kitchen trash as soon as it gets full. Also consider whether you need a trash can in every room. At a minimum, trash bins should be in bathrooms and the kitchen. Beyond that, use discretion.